tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN October 26, 2013 1:00am-2:01am PDT
>> like the floppy dorsal fins. >> 25% of whales have a fin that turns over like that as they get older. >> dorsal collapse happens in less than 1% of wild killer whales. we know this. all the captive males, 100% have collapsed dorsal fins, and they say that they're a family. that the whales are in their family. they have their pods, but that's just, you know an artificial a semblance of their collection, however management decides they should mix them and whichever ones happen to be born or bought or brought in. that's not a family. you know. come on. >> you've got animals from different cultural subsets that have been brought in from various parks. these are different nations. these aren't two different killer whales. these animals have different genes. these different languages. >> well, what can happen as a
result of them being thrown in with other whales that they haven't grown up with, that are not part of their culture is there's hyperaggression. a lot of violence, a lot of killing in captivity that you don't ever see in the wild. >> for the health and safety of the animals, please do not put your hands in the water. >> there's always this backdrop. this underpinning of tension between animals. whale-on-whale aggression was just part of your -- you know, the daily existence. >> we ask that you use the stairs and aisle ways as you exit. please do not step on the seats. these areas may become wet, and therefore slippery to some footwear. thank you. ♪ >> in the wild when there's tension they have thousands of square miles to exit the scene and they can get away. you don't have that in captivity. could you imagine being a small concrete enclosure for your life when you're used to swimming 100
miles a day? >> sometimes this aggression became very severe, and in fact whales have died in captivity because of this aggression. >> i think it was 1988, one rammed corky. it fractured her jaw, which cut an artery in her head, and then she bled out. that's got to be a hard way to go down. i saw there was just a lot of things that weren't right. and there was a lot of misinformation and something was amiss. and i sort of compartmentalized that part of it and did the best i could with the knowledge that i had.
to take care of the animals that were there >> and i think all the trainers there have the same thing in their heart. they're trying to make a difference in the lives of the animals. they think if i leave, who is going to take care of tilikum? that's why i stayed. i felt sorry for tilikum. i mean, if you want to get down to the nuts and bolts of it, i stayed because i felt sorry for tilikum, and i couldn't bring myself to stop coming and trying to take care of him. ♪ >> gosh, do i love coming out here every day and having the audience just love what we're doing with the animals. how do i make the audience know how beautiful the animal is? and they're touched and moved. and i feel like i made a difference, too. >> i left in january of 2010, a month before dawn passed away. she was like a safety guru. i mean, she was always double checking and making sure that everyone was doing the right thing. so i remember she would record every show that she did and she would watch it and critique herself.
and she was constantly trying to be better. when i found out it was dawn, i was shocked. that could have been me. i could have been the spotter. what if i was there and i could have saved her? you know, all these things go through your mind. >> john selig is the guy who was in 1987 crushed between two whales at seaworld in san diego. now even though i had been working at seaworld for six months, i had no idea that had even happened. i never heard the story. and the seaworld party line would say it was a trainer error. >> it was john's fault. john's fault. it was supposed to get off that whale. and for years i believed that. i told people that.
i actually started seaworld like five days after that event occurred, and we weren't told much about it, other than it was trainer error, and, you know, especially when you're new into the program, you don't really question a whole lot. well, you know, years later when you actually look at the footage, you go, you know what, he didn't do anything wrong. that whale went to the wrong spot. it could have been aggression. who knows. but it was not the trainer's fault at all watching that video. >> when i saw the video of the killer whale landing on john, i mean, it just absolutely took my breath away. i gasped. i watched it two or three times. every time i gasped. i couldn't believe what i was seeing. what kept his body together is his wet suit held him together. but i know he's had multiple surgeries and he's got tons of hardware in his body and it's hard for me to believe i didn't see that when i was actually an animal trainer. it seems to me every person who works with killer whales should have to watch that video.
tamary. you know, tamary made mistakes. the most important was reacting with whales without a spotter. so she's putting her foot on orchid. she's taking it off. she's putting her foot on orchid, she's taking it off. watching the video and knowing orchid, your stomach drops. because you probably know what's going to happen. she grabbed her foot. tamary whips around and she grabs the gate. you see her just ripped from the gate. at this point tamary knows that she's in trouble. she's under the water. splash and orchid both have her. she's totally out of view. no other trainer knows this is happening. people start to scream, you know, as the park guest that was filming it. you hear. you don't see her.
but you hear tamary surface. you hear her just scream out "somebody help me", and the way she screamed it, it was just such a blood curdling like, she knew she was going to die. robin, when he ran over, he made a brilliant decision he told the trainer to run and take the chain off kasatka's gate. by taking that chain off it would give the precursor to orchid that kasatka is coming in. kasatka is more dominant than orchid, so orchid let her go. her arm, it was u-shaped. it was compound fractured. she's very lucky to be alive, that's for sure.
i believe it's 70 plus, maybe even more, just killer whale trainer accidents. maybe 30 of them happened prior to me actually being hired at seaworld. and i knew about none of them. >> i've seen animals come out at trainers. >> something is wrong. >> i've seen people get slammed. the whales are just playing or they're upset for a second. it was just something that happened, you know. >> it's culture of you get back on the horse and you dive back
in the water, and if you're hurt, well, then we've got other people that will replace you, and you came a long way. you sure you want that? >> a seaworld trainer is recovering after a terrifying ordeal in front of a horrified audience. >> for some reason, the whale just took a different approach to what it was going to do with a very senior, very experienced trainer, ken peters and drug him to the bottom of the pool and held him at the bottom, let him go.
picked him up, took him down again. and these periods he was taken down were pretty close to the mark. you know. a minute. a minute 20. when he was at the surface, he didn't panic. he didn't thrash. he didn't scream. maybe he's just built that way, but he stroked the whale. and the whale let go of one foot and grabbed the other. that's a pretty deep pool. and he took him right down. i think that's to two
atmospheres pressure. apparently mr. peters isn't an experienced scuba diver. i think that knowledge contributed to how he was able to be hauled down there that early and stay calm and know what to do. he knew what he was doing because when you can see him in the film, you can see him ventilating. you can see him ventilating really hard. he knows about swimming and diving and being underwater. he may have been assuming he was going underwater again. i did not walk away unimpressed by his calm demeanor during that whole affair. i would be scared shitless. ♪
>> he was near to the end. presumably ken peters had a relationship with this whale. maybe he did. maybe that's what saved him, but peters got the whale to let him go. and they strung a net across, and ken peters pulled himself over the float line, and swam like a demon to a slide out because the whale was coming right behind him. the whale jumped over it and kept right after him. he tried to stand up and run but his feet were damaged. he scrambled. and they take this as a prime example of their training working. and they say stand back and stay calm. and that did work. they claim this is a victory of how they do business.
and maybe so. but it can also be interpreted as a hair's thread away from another fatality. [ male announcer ] if you can clear a crowd but not your nasal congestion, you may be muddling through allergies. try zyrtec-d®. powerful relief of nasal congestion and other allergy symptoms -- all in one pill. zyrtec-d®. at the pharmacy counter.
to the glass, whammo, you're a goner. >> orange county sheriff deputies have identified the 27-year-old man found dead in a killer whale's tank at seaworld. the victim is daniel p. dukes from south carolina. he was found draped over the back of tilikum, the largest orca whale in captivity. >> all i know is he was a young man that had been arrested not long before he snuck into seaworld. maybe he climbed the barbed wire fence and stayed after hours. >> perfect story line. a mentally disturb guy hides in the park after hours and strips his clothes off and decides he wants to have a magical experience with an orca and drowns because he became hypothermic. right.
that the the story line and none of us know the difference. >> he was not detected by the night watch trainers who were presumably at the station. >> there are cameras all over seaworld. there are cameras all over the back of shamu stadium pointed every which way. there are underwater cameras. i find it hard to believe that nobody knew until the morning that there was a body in there. they have a night watch trainer. that person didn't hear any slashing or screaming? i just find that really suspicious. >> one of the employees, i don't know if it was a physical therapist or somebody was coming in the morning and there was tilikum with a dead naked guy on his back, kind of parading him around the back pool. the public relation spin on this is he was a drifter and died of hypothermia, but the medical examiner reports were more graphic than that.
for example, tilikum stripped him, bit off his genitals. there was bite marks all over his body. >> now whether that was post death or predeath, i don't know, but all i can comment on is the guy definitely jumped in the wrong pool. ♪ so why keep tilikum there? this guy has a proven track record of killing people. he's clearly a liability to the institution. why keep him around? well, it's quite simple to answer, and that is that his s, seamon is worth quite a lot of money. >> over the years tilikum has been one of the main breeding whales at seaworld. which is brilliant because they can inseminate way more female whales because they can get his sperm and freeze it and he's
basically operating as a sperm bank. in a reputable breeding program, rule number one is you certainly would not breed an animal that has shown a history of aggression towards humans. >> the fall is to assume that all killer whales are like tilikum. you have to look at their learning history from birth, understand why tilikum was a hazard to anybody in the water. you have to understand that none of the other killer whales at seaworld in that system are that way. >> what about the incident at laurel park?
>> loro parque is in the canary islands near spain. it's a big tourist attraction. when seaworld sense the or cass there, everybody was always questioning like how did they make that leap to send four young orcas to a park off the west coast of africa with trainers who a lot of them had never been around orcas before? nothing was ready. the venue wasn't ready. it wasn't ready for the orcas or a show. the owner of the park didn't want to lose revenue by shutting down the pools and repairing them.
for three years the animals ate in the pools and the animals had problems with their teeth, with their stomachs. that's the reason why these animals are enduring these procedures. those are still seaworld's animals. they are responsible for those animals. >> loro parque doesn't have a good reputation. people in the business know the reputation of places, and loro parque doesn't have a great reputation. they didn't go through the same regimen that the seaworld trainers went through. alexis really was their best trainer. i said you're the only trainer there that can hold its own with the seaworld trainers. i said, you need to be careful.
>> those were seaworld's whales. they were trained using seaworld's techniques. and their training was being supervised at the time of the fatal accident by one other seaworld trainers from san diego. >> to get up and say in a court of law they had no knowledge of the linkages between seaworld and this park, well, either she doesn't know and is telling the truth or it's just a bold-faced lie.
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>> i've been expecting it since the second person was killed. i've been expecting somebody to be killed by tilikum. i'm surprised it took as long as it did. >> first tonight, a six-ton killer whale has lived up to its name, killing an experienced trainer at seaworld orlando today. >> a tourist at an earlier show said the animal seemed agitated. trainers complained the whales weren't cooperating. >> the whole show, the main show, was a disaster that day. >> there were whales chasing each other. and eventually the trainers decided they had to stop the show because they couldn't get the whales under control. >> tilikum was in the back pool, set up to do a dine with shamu performance with dawn. >> likely she saw what had gone on during the main show. she probably felt more pressured to do a good show. >> when you watch the whole video, you can see that tilikum is actually really with dawn in the beginning of the video. there's a couple of behaviors
that she asks him to do where tilikum just jumps right in and he does exactly what she asks him to do. >> there seemed to be a point in the session where things went south, to so speak. and in my humble opinion it was at that missed bridge, whistle bridge on the perimeter peck wave. >> she asked him to do a perimeter pec wave where she asks him to basically go all the way around the pool and wave his pectoral flipper. and she blows her whistle, which is a bridge, which tells the animal that okay, you've done a good job, come back and get food. but he missed that cue. and he went all the way around the pool on this perimeter pec wave.
>> my interpretation is that he didn't hear the whistle. >> so not only did he not hear the bridge, then he went and did a perfect behavior and came back, and what he got was what we call a three second choice which is the way to let the animal know, no, you didn't do the correct thing. you're not going to get rewarded. then we're going to move on you. can also see through the video that dawn is running out of food. >> the animals can sent when you're getting to the bottom of your bucket of fish because they can hear the ice clanging around and the kind of fishy, soupy water at the bottom. and the handfuls of fish they're getting delivered by the trainer are all getting smaller. so they know that they're coming down to the end of session. >> when you see the difference between the beginning of the video and the end of the video, you can see that he's just not quite on his game anymore. >> there's no food left. she kept asking him for more and more behaviors. he wasn't getting reinforced for the behaviors that he was doing correctly. he probably was frustrated towards the end. >> then she walked around the
perimeter of g pool. he followed her. and then continued over into the rocky ledge area where she laid down with him to do a relationship session, which is -- it's quiet time, basically. tilikum at some point grabbed ahold of her left forearm and started to drag her. and eventually did a barrel roll and pulled her in may have started as play or frustration, and clearly escalated to be very violent behavior that i think was anything but play. in the end, he basically just completely mutilated that poor girl. >> they were gathering all the trainers at the texas park. he said, there's been an accident at the florida park, and a trainer was killed. hearing that it was dawn, i
was -- i couldn't believe it. i just remember saying to myself, not dawn. it can't be dawn. he said that -- and he still has her. and i just was so disturbed by that and the reality of how powerless we are. >> laceration, abrasion, fractures, fractures associated hemorrhages, blunt force traumas to the main body, to extremities. to see this meted out against a trainer. and i cannot fathom the reason. it's shocking. >> a lawyer for osha asked me what i thought we'd learned. and i'm sitting in the courtroom, and i've got the kelty burn case file in one hand and dawn branscho almost 20 years apart. my answer was not a thing.
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confirmed a killer whale pulled a woman into the wart. she didn't fall into the tank as the sheriff's department initially reported. >> the new plan is that he grabbed her pony tail. this is a subtle way of placing the blame on dawn's shoulders. she shouldn't have had a long ponytail. if she did should have been up in the bun. >> dawn if she was standing here with me right now would tell you that was her mistake in allowing that to happen. >> they blamed her. how dare you? how disrespectful for you to blame her when she's not even alive to defend herself? >> he grabbed her pony tail and
pulled her into the water. that's as simple as it gets. >> there are photographs of plenty of other trainers doing exactly the same thing she was doing. so i knew that seaworld was lying about the fact this was her fault. >> the pony tail in all likelihood is just a tail. the safety spotter who apparently didn't actually see the take down came up with that. >> during the spotter's testimony, osha pushed him to say that he wasn't really sure thought was her pony tail that was in the whale's mouth that, he just saw her underwater and he assumed it was the pony tail. osha contends that the whale came up and grabbed on bransho's arm. seaworld was saying it was not an aggressive move. one of seaworld's top curators said when dawn was pulled off that ledge, it wasn't necessarily aggressive behavior by the whale. >> the initial grab was not an act of aggression. this is not a crazed animal.
>> the industry has a vested interest in spinning these so that the animals continue to appear like cuddly teddy bears that are completely safe. that sell as lot of shamu dolls, a lot of tickets at the gate. and that's the story line that they're going to continue to stick with for as long as they can. >> recognize that those that say this is a crazed animal that acted out and grabbed dawn maliciously, they want to prove the theorum that captivity makes animals crazy and that is just false. >> all whales in captivity have a bad life. they're all emotionally
destroyed. they're all psychologically traumatized. so they are ticking time bombs. it's not just tilikum. >> we have to separate what happened to dawn -- and as tragic as it is, no one wants to see it happen again -- can seaworld create an environment where it never happens again? yes, i absolutely believe they can. >> what if there were no seaworlds? i can't imagine a society with the value we put in marine mammals if those parks didn't exist. >> i'm not at all interested in having my daughter who is 3 1/2, grow up thinking that it's normalized to have these intelligent, highly evolved animals in concrete pools. i don't want her to think that's how we treat the kin that we find ourselves around on this planet. i think it's atrocious. >> this hearing is expected to last all week with osha continuing to work toward this theory, that seaworld knew there was a calculated risk of injury or death but put trainers in the water with the whales anyway. why seaworld will say that dawn brancheau's death was an isolated incident.
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capzasin-hp. take the pain out of arthritis. there's something wrong, you know, with tilikum, that there's something wrong. and when you have a relationship with the animal and you -- you understand that he's killing not to be a savage, he's not killing because he's just crazy. he's not killing because he doesn't know what he's doing. he's killing because he's frustrated, and he's got aggravations. and he doesn't know how to -- he has no outlet for it. >> now tilikum is spending a
great deal of time by himself and basically floating lifeless in a pool. >> three hours now. and he hasn't moved. >> they try to sugar coat it by saying he comes out in the front pool every once in awhile. now he's doing shows. you know what he does in a show? he does a few bows and he goes back into his little jail cell. that's his life. and i feel sad for tilikum. a regal thing like him swimming around the tank with his fin flopped over like that, compared to a wild bull killer whale that size? one of the most kinetic and dynamic things you can imagine. i feel sad when i see him. >> it's time to stop the shows. it's time to stop forcing animals to perform and basically a circus environment. they should release the animals that are young enough and healthy enough to be released. animals like tilikum who have
put in 25 years in the industry should be released to an open ocean pen so they can live their lives and experience the natural rhythms to the ocean. >> this is a multimillion dollar corporation that makes its money through the exploitation of orcas. >> they're not suitable to have in captivity. >> the whales are really bored. you deprive them of all this environmental stimulation. >> i think that in 50 years we'll look back and go, my god, what a barbaric time.